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A Tehachapi Indian lady cools off

Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi


May 25, 2019

Jon Hammond

When my wife Lucille and I lived down in El Centro, her mother, Gladys Girado, lived with us.

She was a wonderful Nuwä (Kawaiisu) Indian lady who had been raised around Twin Oaks and Lorraine Canyon. She spoke fluent Nuwä and only broken English – a lot of times she'd forget that I didn't speak the language and she'd say something to me in Nuwä, but usually I could figure out what she was saying. She was a shy person and very humble.

We had a swimming pool, but Gladys had never learned to swim and didn't own a bathing suit – she always wore dresses or skirts and blouses, and usually had a piyu – a scarf – in her hair. One day when it was very hot, well over 100 degrees, she went to the pool and cautiously walked down the steps, right into the water, wearing all of her clothes. She wanted to cool off. "Ahh..." she said. "I see why you like dat pond."

- George Hicks


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